In Which the Dragonborn Goes to Volskygge

For this session, I had two main overall goals:

  1. Following up on the “Letter from a Friend” that advised me to go find “the source of power” at Volskygge
  2. Seeing if I could generate a new dragon to kill, to see if I could clear the dragon corpse haunting Whiterun

Main highlights as follows:

  • Let Lydia have a break, as I went up to Solitude to sell and craft some more stuff, and to buy more furnishings for Proudspire Manor
  • Got Jordis the Sword-Maiden to follow me over to Volskygge, since it was a moderate walk east of Solitude
  • Killed a Blood Dragon on the way
  • Encountered some Companions for the first time, surprisingly north of Whiterun
  • Also killed a couple of Forsworn
  • Found Volskygge and started to clear it out, but realized I was too overloaded already—and that Jordis really needed better armor anyway, so I blipped back to Solitude to get her better outfitted and drop off other things
  • Returned to Volskygge via fast travel to clear it for real
  • Several bandits and lots and lots of draugr in Volskygge
  • Found the Word Wall with the third word of Whirlwind Sprint
  • Killed the Dragon Priest Volsung and got his mask!
  • Fast traveled back to the Western Watchtower twice actually, because a Frost Dragon showed up the first time and guards got in my way while I was fighting it, and I accidentally hit one and pissed them off, oops, rollback time
  • Fast travel the second time to the Watchtower also triggered a dragon, but it never landed, so I didn’t fight it

My main goal of the night being “let’s see if I can kill another dragon”, I thought I’d try to check out the current “Letter from a Friend”, and go to Volskygge and clear the place. Plus, I knew from the wiki that it had a Word Wall with the third word of Whirlwind Sprint on it, which was definitely a thing I wanted!

So off I went to Solitude, first. I picked the Statue of Meridia as my nearby fast travel location, and wound up having to do a brief rollback to a prior save—because when I came down the hill from the statue, I ran into what seemed to be some kind of fight between parties I didn’t get a chance to identify. And when I tried to get closer to one of them, I got stuck in a crevice and couldn’t figure out how to get out. (I did accidentally trigger the location tag for a Stormcloak camp I hadn’t previously discovered, too, but that got overwritten by the save.)

Second time fast traveling to the statue, nothing of note happened as I headed into Solitude. My initial plan was going to be selling some extra stuff to make enough money to buy more furnishings for Proudspire Manor.

And while doing that, I went by Taarie, the Altmer who runs the clothing shop Radiant Raiment, and who snarks on your outfit. This time though I actually went ahead and triggered her mini-quest of wearing one of her shop’s outfits up to the Blue Palace, to get Elisif interested in buying clothing from them. This let me get a small amount of gold from her, as well as the outfit she’d loaned me to wear.

Which means now that I have like four or five different sets of “Fine Clothes”. I had a couple get generated when I bought Proudspire, as well. There are four different variants that I’ve seen so far, and I don’t actually quite like the variant that Taarie’s outfit rendered as—because that looks better on a male character, I think. It’s the one with a short fur cloak over a long green robe type thing, as you can see on the wiki here. I actually like the other main type of Fine Clothes, which come in brown and sort of turquoise-y variants. The brown variant of those, here, is the one that I think looks better on Alarrah and which I took a screencap of her wearing.

Regardless, with Taarie’s outfit on, I felt a little silly wearing that in no small part because I had no boots on me other than my glass armor ones. Which looked weird! So I spent a little while checking all the various containers and pieces of furniture in Proudspire, just to see if any of them had generated with additional boots I could wear. Answer: yes. Found boots as well as a Fine Hat, which I put on to go with the outfit, and which got me suitably prepared to drop by the Blue Palace and give money to Falk.

This time, I bought bedroom furnishings from him, as well as kitchen furnishings. And when I returned to Proudspire, I found that the bedroom had gotten significantly swankier.

That taken care of, I decided I’d also try out having a different housecarl following me around for once. Which meant letting Jordis the Sword-Maiden have a chance to live up to her name and come with me to Volskygge!

Having Jordis rather than Lydia was fun, but weird. She’s essentially a blonde version of Lydia, along the same “big brawny Nord warrior goddess” type of template. Which means she’s just close enough to Lydia in overall appearance to look more or less familiar—but because she has a different voice actress, with different takes on the lines she shares with Lydia as well as lines that seemed unique to her, she was also different enough to be weird!

Social media friend Aaron (hi Aaron!) nailed down what the core of this was for me: she also has the line “I’m sworn to carry your burdens”. But when she says it, she sounds earnest instead of snarky, and that was just weird.

(I think Alarrah likes Jordis well enough, and was probably pleased at Jordis skillfully having her back (particularly after I outfitted her with better armor). But I think she also missed having Lydia around.)

Anyway, once I got Jordis activated as my follower, I headed east on foot towards the quest marker for Volskygge. This wasn’t a hugely long walk, just a little ways further east of Dragon Bridge. But the route to get there was somewhat circuitous, as I had to try several slopes that proved impassable before I finally looped around and found the right way there.

First major encounter coming eastward from Solitude was in fact a dragon. But it was a Blood Dragon, not a generic one! I got very little warning about this because it was already on the ground when the fight music kicked in, it didn’t attack me from the air—or if it did, it was fast enough that I didn’t see it land.

Jordis and I killed it, of course. Which meant dragon bones and scales!

The next interesting encounter was between more fighting parties. This time I actually got to engage a bit. One side was Forsworn, and I killed a couple of those. The other side was apparently Companions! This was the first time I’d seen any of them active, and I was surprised to see them that far north of Whiterun. They weren’t particularly interested in talking to me much, so I let them go about their business.

Finally made it to Volskygge with Jordis in tow, and found one of the lower level initial chambers accessible from the outside… but I realized that since I was carrying the bits of bone and scale from the Blood Dragon, I was already right on the border of being overloaded. This is not a good state to be in when about to tackle a long dungeon.

Also, Jordis was wearing her default steel armor, the same default armor Lydia wears. And really, I could do better than that. I didn’t want Jordis killed on her first outing with me because she wasn’t wearing good enough armor!

So since I’d discovered Volskygge’s location, I decided to pop back to Solitude briefly, long enough to get her some better armor made at the blacksmith’s, and to drop off all the heavy stuff at Proudspire Manor.

Really, I should have just given her the Nordic carved armor I’d hauled up there to begin with from Whiterun—but I’d already sold that to the blacksmith. But I was able to make another set of Nordic armor for her, between the materials I already had on me as well as what I could buy from Beirand. I also wound up making her an orcish helmet and gauntlets just because that’s what I had available in terms of raw materials.

Along with the heavy armor, I also wound up giving her the Nordic bow I’d made—because I had quite the selection of bows, and again, I could do better for my housecarl than the default weaponry she comes with! I also gave her all my steel arrows because I had a whole bunch of better ones, and steel was better than her default iron arrows.

You work for the Dragonborn, she’s going to get you properly outfitted, is what I’m saying here. :D

Anyway, that accomplished, I felt Jordis was much better prepared to help me clear Volskygge out. Fast travel then right back to Volskygge, and this time, we headed on in once I found the correct route to the entrance.

As I’m finding to be the case for some of the larger cave dungeons I’ve run, the outermost chambers were inhabited by bandits. And in this case, the inner chambers were swarming with draugr. Lots and lots and lots of draugr, which meant Dawnbreaker got a lot of nice explode-y action.

And in general, there were a lot of chests all throughout this place too. More chests than I remember running into in previous dungeons, which meant that I got a pretty decent loot haul. Let it be noted though that several of the chests were trapped, which was a reminder to me that I really ought to check for that before I just go willy-nilly opening any chest I see! (Fortunately, none of the traps did much damage to me.)

This was one of the larger draugr nests I’ve gone through, and it took a while for me to really get the hang of the layout. The first real notable new thing about it for me was a pair of trap doors over a couple of vicious spike traps, one of which had a dead bandit impaled on it. Broken stairs led down to that trap from above, and for a while, Jordis actually got stuck there and wouldn’t follow me any further. I had to come back to that staircase a couple of times, trying to figure out how to get her unstuck. What finally worked was my jumping slowly down the stairs, and giving Jordis enough time and space to jump down after me.

Once I got her unstuck, we were able to proceed.

The next major area of the dungeon was another new thing—a spider nest. Lots and lots and lots of frostbite spiders, the most I’d ever seen in a location. Enough spiders that it was getting all Mirkwood-y in there and I started wondering when I was going to find dwarves and a hobbit balled up somewhere in spiderwebs.

I didn’t find any dwarves or hobbits. But I did find a bunch of spider egg sacs, which, while lootable, were also a little creepy because they totally reminded me of the Alien movies.

In short, eww. I am not particularly spider-phobic, but any players who are, be advised, that part of the dungeon is really not friendly to the arachnophobia.

After the spiders, we had a few more chambers to clear before I got to a Draugr Death Overlord. This guy was slightly more challenging than the rest of the draugr in the place, by which I mean, it took me four or five whacks with Dawnbreaker to take him out as opposed to just one. Lol.

And with that, I was clear to get out onto Volskygge Peak, for the final and tastiest part of the dungeon, to where the Word Wall was.

And the Dragon Priest, Volsung.

This dragon priest pulled the same thing that Krosis did—moving very quickly and therefore being very hard to hit. I tried to hit him with arrows, but I wound up finally having to take him on in melee combat. Jordis got in a few hits, but he also kept hitting her with frost blasts, and I ultimately decided I’d better get between him and her to help shield her from that.

After a few hits with the ebony sword, I finally took him down and got his mask. Which means: I’ve killed my first Dragon Priest! And now that I know I can take one out, I think I’ll be able to go back after Krosis and fight him too.

Volsung’s mask, which has the same name, is pretty tasty. It bumps up your carry weight and barter abilities, and also lets you breathe underwater!

Fast traveled to get off Volskygge Peak, once more going to the Statue of Meridia. On the way back into Solitude, I discovered that the carriage driver was still stuck in a “I can’t wait forever” state, oops, presumably from when I’d tried to board the carriage while overencumbered before. I’ll have to go try to engage the carriage again to see if I can break him out of that loop.

But with all the loot I got out of that dungeon crawl, I was able to drop Jordis off at Proudspire, do another run of smithing and selling, and bump up the gold tally high enough that I was able to blip back to the Blue Palace and buy an alchemy laboratory from Falk Firebeard.

I was still overloaded, though, since I was carrying dragon bits. I discovered I could quaff a couple of potions of strength to temporarily up my carrying capacity and therefore be no longer overloaded—and that let me actually fast travel back to Whiterun.

Came out of fast travel with the potions having worn off, though. So I was overloaded again. Which was a problem given that a Frost Dragon showed up!

I had to drop the dragon bits so I could fight it, which started off well enough. But then a couple of the watchtower guards got in my way and I accidentally hit one—which severely pissed them off and got them fighting me. Oops. Roll back! Roll back!

That put me back at the Blue Palace, so I had to do take two of quaffing the strength potions so I could fast travel to the watchtower again. This time, I had another dragon manifest—but it never landed, so I didn’t get a chance to fight it.

So I trudged with all my loot and assorted dragon bits back into Whiterun to drop stuff off. And I determined that yeah, the floppy dragon corpse was still there. But for the time being it’s bodged in right around the Whiterun front gates, kind of conveniently out of the way, so I guess I don’t mind much? If it’s still there the next session I’ll have to get another screencap, because it does make the gate kind of cool.

And I still don’t have any proof yet about my theory of clearing that corpse out once I kill a dragon—just because tonight’s kill was a Blood Dragon, not just a Dragon. And I think the dragon type might need to match for this to work.

And oh yeah: now that my Smithing is over 90, now some of the things I can make at a forge are coming out as “Legendary” quality! Take that, Eorlund Grey-Mane!

Next time: Now that I know I can take out a Dragon Priest I may need to go have round two with Krosis, just to see if that’ll also let me generate another dragon, since Shearpoint is a dragon lair!

Editing to add: Partway through the run, Paul came into the living room and asked me if I’d found the source of power at Volskygge yet. When I said no, he said, “I think it’ll be natural gas!” 😆

Also, one of Jordis’s lines she throws off during combat is “Enjoy your last breath!” I heard her do this a couple of times and each time I was thinking, “Honey, that’s a draugr, I’m pretty sure they don’t breathe.”